Once Upon a One More Time review: Britney Spears’ awful show
The New Broadway Musical of “Bad Cinderella”Once upon a one more time” – one Even worse cinderella
Two hours and 30 minutes with a 15-minute intermission. at the Marquis Theatre.
The raucous show, which opens Thursday night at the Marquis Theater, takes Britney Spears’ pop songs in a feminist spin on a willy-nilly spin in which the main character realizes that falling in love with a prince Besides, there is more to life.
Good for you, Cindy, but wouldn’t it be nice if you were both free-thinking, independent women and your musical story licked sense?
It’s bibidi-bobidi-bibek. Instead of crafting compelling characters or a gripping plot, the book’s author John Hartmer weaves dance floor tunes and half-baked, teacher pet ideas into shapeless glue.
“One time” is rarely fun, but always enticing and impossible to follow.
Cinderella (played as a one-note deer in the headlights by Brigga Heelan) hangs out with her friends Snow White (Aisha Jackson), Sleeping Beauty (Ashley Chiu), Rapunzel, and begins to realize that “happily ever after “There’s a whole lotta hooey. (Gabrielle Beckford), Princess Pea (Morgan Whitley) and The Little Mermaid (Lauren Zakrin).
Early in the show the girls sing “Baby One More Time” as they try to woo the princes. But Cinderella has a different idea for her future than settling down.
“Sometimes I think, God, maybe I’d like to hang on to both slippers for a change,” she says with Betty White’s impishness on “The Golden Girls.” “Or stay out past midnight.”
All the music is more of the old take-back-the-narrative, girl-power messaging used by “Six” and “And Juliet,” just without their smarts or watchability.
The princess pose gag, by the way, has been done much better and more cleverly by the movies “Shrek” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” The novelty of a fairy-tale encounter has worn off, especially with Lorraine Elstein’s vaguely costumed actresses who are so determined not to look like Disney, they look like nothing at all.
The narrator (Adam Godley) wants the rebellious Cinderella to stick to the script. But her fairy godmother – referred to as OFG for maximum annoyance – walks in and hands her a copy of “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan and tells the girl that she and Betty live together in Flatbush.
And that awkward moment, somehow, is considered enough to hang two and a half hours of music.
Of course, Prince Charming is here. A very good Justin Guarani sings “Oof!… I did it again” as Casanova kills several princesses, Scandoval-style.
The wonderful Jennifer Simard plays the stepmother and, like Carolee Carmelo as the stepmother in “Bad Cinderella,” is the best part of a mediocre performance. The audience is relieved whenever Simard is on stage, like they’ve got a cold bottle of Poland Spring in the Sahara.
Sweet Ryan Steele plays Prince Erudite, a shy boy with a secret.
And, as narrator, Godley is… British.
For many people the story nit-picking doesn’t matter as long as Spears’ hits are here: “Toxic,” “Crazy,” “Strong” and more thrown into a jampacked suitcase. And, yes, they are great songs.
The problem is that, unlike ABBA or Celine Dion, Spears’ oeuvre is not just theatrical music. Taken collectively, they become tiresome and, dare I say, dull.
Co-directors/choreographers Keon Madrid and Mari Madrid stage the numbers energetically, but they’re completely forgettable when they’re over.
They aren’t helped at all by Anna Fleischle’s sets, which are sparse and sparse and not effective in distinguishing one location from the next.
How surreal to see giant talents like Godley (earth-shattering in “The Lehman Trilogy”), Simard (a comic genius in “Company”) and Steele (a sensational dancer) in this disaster. They are brilliant and manage to spin chaff into gold here, and the audience is delighted to see them.
But I hope to see them all in something so toxic.